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Learning‐centred public management education

Claus Nygaard (Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Pia Bramming (National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to give concrete ideas to the development of MPA programmes in the light of the changing public sector. Following the introduction of ideas and practices from New Public Management, public managers face new requirements. The paper aims to deal with some of them and argues that in order to be a competent manager in the public sector today, one needs to be able to self‐develop four types of competence‐in‐practice: methodological competencies; theoretical competencies; meta‐theoretical competencies; and contextual competencies.

Design methodology/approach

The approach in the paper is explorative and normative. The paper explores the changes and challenges in the public sector based on the aforementioned four types of competence‐in‐practice. Following that the paper presents a normative model for curriculum design and exemplify the development and possible processes of learning‐centered MPA programmes.


The paper finds that learning‐centred MPA programmes are fruitful for the development of said the types of competence‐in‐practice.

Practical implications

With its particular focus on public sector management education this article may be relevant to curriculum developers, academics and practitioners interested in education and employability of public managers.


The paper shows that building on theories about learning, competencies, and curriculum development suggests a processual model for curriculum development that can inspire faculty members to develop learning‐centred MPA programmes where focus is learning and competence development.



Nygaard, C. and Bramming, P. (2008), "Learning‐centred public management education", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 400-416.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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